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COVID-19 Daily Briefing - Friday, 4/24

What you need to know before heading into the weekend...

Today’s Recap:

  • We are seeing LOTS of employees working when family members are sick, or being tested and awaiting results. Make sure your managers are asking employees if ANYONE in their household is sick or being tested for COVID, and send them home immediately if the answer is yes.  We’ll be adding downloadable signage to the app toolkits to help drive this message home: don’t work sick, don’t work while living with someone who is sick, don’t work while awaiting test results for you or a loved one.

  • The first surface tests are now available on the commercial market and can be used in restaurants, manufacturing facilities or even retailers to test for COVID residue. Seems it may be a bit premature but we’ll continue to follow this.

  • NY State released data today on their antibody study which showed 21.7% of New York City residents may have already had COVID and 13.9% of New Yorkers overall. The data is somewhat skewed by only including samples from shoppers outside of 40 supermarkets throughout New York state.  One would hope those sick with COVID weren’t out shopping.

  • Yesterday’s webinar from the National Association of County Health Officials included some initial recommendations from Utah about what restaurant reopening might look like there, and many of them make complying (while remaining profitable) a challenge. Some of those include closing multiple times per day to clean, or having supplies of hand sanitizer that we simply don’t see restaurants able to get in those quantities. See the full presentation here.

  • The CDC reported that two pet cats tested positive for COVID in New York.  The cats live in two separate areas of New York state. Both had mild respiratory illness and are expected to make a full recovery. 

Best Questions of the Day:

With rising temperatures in the South, employee temperatures rose yesterday and again today.  How should we handle that?

Over the last few days, some southern locations got a glimpse of the issues that may arise as summer approaches and the new reality of the complexities related to taking employee temperatures. Several employees registered temperatures of 101 degrees or even higher on arrival at work.  But after removing hats and sitting in the AC for a few minutes, they all came down to 98.6 or close to it.  There are other issues related to employee temperatures and also how hot some workplaces can be; especially wearing masks.

Don’t  assume it’s the heat though and be sure to repeat the temperature after a few minutes. Sometimes a fever is a fever.   And this also highlights why taking guest or customer temperatures will be a can of worms. 

If an employee is asymptomatic but excluded for a sick family member and then another family member becomes sick, should their exclusion be extended?

Unfortunately, yes.  The employee must be excluded for fourteen days from their exposure to symptoms.  This can be difficult for the employee, family, staffing and benefits.  

Can we test all of our employees before they come back to work?

Not yet. There’s not currently enough available testing in most areas, though we expect this will become more available and more commonly required for employees to return to work. For states aiming to reopen by May 1, we don’t know that it’s feasible given the limits on testing. It’s also of limited use - while a test may confirm you don’t have it the day that you take it, you may be exposed at any point after that.

Again, we expect antibody testing will play a larger role in the months to come, but it’s still too early for that to be widely available as a pathway to getting employees back to work. 

I have employees whose family members are sick. Should I keep them out? 

YES. We’re seeing a large number of employees working when their family members have COVID symptoms, and sometimes when family members are tested and waiting results. Employees should stay home if anyone in their household is sick!

Most Encouraging Read of the Day: 

Hats off to the employees of Braskem (and their leadership).  They  show us how creativity, resilience, and commitment will get us through this.

Braskem employees live at plant to ramp up production of medical supplies

Best Laugh of the Day:

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